Normative and Military Power in EU Peace Support Operations

Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


This chapter challenges the understanding that the European Union’s (EU) ability to exercise soft, normative powers to influence international relations rests on its lack of military capability. Recent peace operations conducted by the EU reveal that the Union now is prepared to extend traditional soft foreign policy methods to also include hard powers, such as military threats as well as military force to successfully manage conflicts and promote peace. To what extent is this compatible with the Normative Power Europe (NPE) self-images of the EU? How can normative and military power co-exist and be exercised in parallel? Is it possible for the EU to continue to exercise ‘normative power’ when using military means in international peace operations? The EU’s experiences in the Western Balkans, Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur compel us to think anew about the use of different kinds of power in conducting peace operations, that is, the use of military means in combination with defending, upholding and even promoting international norms pertaining to human rights, democracy and sustainable peace.


European Union Normative Power United Nations European Union Member State Military Force 
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© Annika Björkdahl 2011

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